Wednesday, March 9, 2011

There is a whole 'nother side to that woman.

My first television crush was Olivia Benson.

I say 'Olivia Benson' instead of 'Mariska Hargitay' for two reasons.

Number one, Olivia Benson is a long-running character - SVU has been through 12 seasons so far - and so I consider her a 'person' in the collective consciousness of American viewers. You say 'Olivia Benson' and people know who - not what - you mean.

Number two, I don't like Mariska Hargitay.

It's true. I don't like her. She's homophobic and virulently against anyone even thinking Olivia Benson is gay, despite the fact that Olivia Benson is the second gayest thing on television ever.

We'll get to that.

My current point is that, when I was growing up, Olivia Benson WAS the gayest thing on TV. I didn't understand my fascination at first. I only knew that I adored her. Olivia Benson was a strong, independent role model for me and my budding sexuality. I needed her to show me you could wear sensible shoes and leather jackets and still be attractive. She was crucial to the later development of my self-confidence.

So I don't for the life of me understand why Mariska Hargitay would want to take that away from me, why she railroads the writers - who are totally cogent of the subtext and welcome the gay viewers - into giving Olivia male love interests and having her make veiled comments alluding to her heterosexuality every now and then. It feels like a betrayal every time it happens.

Contrast this with the gayest thing on television today:

Criminal Minds' Emily Prentiss, played by Paget Brewster.

Who totally knows what I'm talking about. Don't let the face fool you.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with this SO MUCH. SO MUCH. I think the way Mariska acts is due in large part to the fact that there is so much speculation about her sexuality (Mariska's, not Olivia's) because allegedly she stepped out with a bunch of women in the 80s and then sort of "retracted" her actions and married a guy. I don't presume to know the story, that's just what I've heard. But the storylines I see on SVU seem to reflect Mariska's paranoia about playing a gay character; and you're right, it is completely her who is railroading the writers into the heterosexual storylines. I think with the absence of Elliott Stabler and that whole corny subtext (like, really?) and this new female detective with a sketchy past, we'll start to see a demand for it as Olivia's sexuality becomes more obvious/blatantly inescapable. I don't know if you've been watching recently, but a guy made a date with her in one of the recent episodes and it was so obviously forced. I think the departure of the pretense or, sadly, Mariska herself from the show is coming up fast.
    As you can see, I have a lot to say about this. :)